Ever think about who you were in your past life? Well, I am pretty sure if you are a waiter there is a strong possibility that you were either one or a combination of a ninja, a pirate or a prostitute. Think about it! If this was “Game of Thrones,” we would easily all be sent to The Wall for some ridiculous crime of stealing booze, running brothels, etc.
I say this because even though we come from different walks of life (Vermont or Denver), there are similar traits about us that make us who we are today, and maybe who we were before. One thing is for sure, we are not afraid to get our hands dirty. Or in this cause our mouths.
“Garbage Mouthing.” If you never heard this term, maybe these references would refresh your memory: busser buffet, prowling, dumpster diving.
A waiters urban dictionary:
Garbage mouth: verb: when a waiter, waitress, busser, dish- washer etc., eats off a customer’s plate.
When breaking it down, we are animals. We live on instinct. When we are thirsty, we drink (whiskey, beers, water), and when are hungry we eat (everything), and, well, when we are in heat, we do as best we can (anything with a pulse). That is why the filet mignon that table 30 didn’t even touch looks to good to resist.
Now there are a few factors that go into “garbage mouthing.” For me there are three rules:
1) Is anyone sick at the table?
2) Any utensils touching the food I am about to SHOVE in my mouth?
3) Would I make-out with this person?
Depending on how hungry I am, these factors/rules can completely be thrown out the window. Before I continue I must say my skills of dumpster diving are not mine. I learned from the best. His name will not be disclosed for the moment, but let’s say he is now killing it and winning Emmy’s. I once saw this kung fu master of used food take a lasagna dish, cut out the uneaten part, and crush it with a smile.
Now, besides meeting your own judgments, eating someone else’s food is also a test of time. If your boss catches you, you’re dead tonight. How fast can you chew in order to take down that whole cannoli, without anyone knowing, having ample time to chew and not to choke, and still perform great table presence, IS AN UNAPPRECIATED ART!
For me, this art is selfless. I look at it as if I am a world-class graffiti artist — I don’t do it for the money or fame. I know that each of my teammates favors certain dishes. So, when I catch that half uneaten med-rare burger with bacon and blue cheese, I know who wants it more then me. Do I give them the whole half? No. But I make sure they get some? Yes. So my gift of stealth again is selfless.
Truly, when a wait staff buys into the garbage mouthing culture (GMC), it becomes a team building activity. We look after each other and one another’s willingness to eat other peoples’ food. Half our staff has made out with the other half anyway, so what’s the big deal about sharing some silverware. Honestly, anything was better then those hotdogs for staff meal.
Once upon a time, I was caught diving deep into someone’s dish. Thankfully it was by my sous chef. This sous chef is a world traveler, and worked in kitchens around the globe. He has witnessed waiters eating off customers’ plates for longer then I been alive. So as I wiped food off my face and sprinkled my hands in the sink, he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Son, I have a story to tell you.”
Here is his story (PARAPHARSED).
“When I was working in New York City, a server came back to the kitchen and said this old lady didn’t touch her scallops. So instead of throwing them out, he sat there with his fellow waiters, evenly dividing and devouring the scallops in record time. When this server returned to the old lady and her table, he asked if there was something wrong with the scallops. She replied, ‘They were great. I just can’t chew. I just put them in my mouth and suck the flavor off.’”
Did this stop me from garbage mouthing? HAHA! NO!
Do I pay more attention to my tables? YUP.
Would I make out with an older woman? Wouldn’t be my first time.
To my fellow servers, pick and choose your battles. Sure, that leftover appetizer looks great, but don’t do it. Have a bowl of Wheaties before work and bring your A game. Because the last thing you want is to catch some bugs from the wrong table.
Or just roll the dice, there are medicines for MOST things.